A blended dram that simply may never be bettered

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

All can be revealed. Indeed, all has been revealed.

As mentioned in my last Blog, I am here in Singapore to witness a unique collaboration between a brand, a retailer, an airport and a charity.

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Yesterday at Singapore Changi Airport (the airport), an extraordinary new Scotch whisky blend was unveiled to the world at the DFS store (the retailer) in Terminal 2.

The John Walker (the brand) is the ultimate expression of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label family, carrying a remarkable price-point of US$3,000 – with all proceeds from the auction of the first bottle going to The Smile Train (the charity). Even better, DFS (a magnificent champion of The Smile Train) plans to match the winning sum with its own donation.

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But then again, it’s a remarkable whisky. Last night at a post-launch dinner at the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, I got to taste this incredible spirit in a vertical tasting of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V Limited Edition, and The John Walker.

Each is a great Scotch; and each displays the famed three characteristics of Johnnie Walker whiskies (and especially the Blue Label line) – big, layered and seamless.

JW_Blue_LabelBlue Label, with Islay malt Caol Ila to the fore is powerful stuff, offering a cascade of rich flavours and a long, lingering aftertaste. 

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King George V, by contrast, lacks smokiness. Instead it’s a huge, rich, sweet, sumptuous blend – again stunning in its own right.

And what about the big one – The John Walker? “We wanted something that was truly amazing,” said International Brand Ambassador Jonathan Driver (below) as he led us into the tasting.

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It is. At US$3,000 a bottle, this is a whisky to be savoured, not just for the price but for the exquisite quality. That’s not difficult given a feather down softness that just melts in the mouth and a gentle creaminess given edge by a hint of smoke at the end.

“This may be  luxury marketing but it’s still all about the liquid,” said Jonathan.

No-one disagreed. The room fell almost silent – the only noise the gentle swilling of liquid against glass and soft murmurings of appreciation from those present.

Twelve hours – and a jet-lag ruined sleep later – I can still recall the elegance vibrance of the flavours on my palate.

The juice is blended from nine distilleries, including some of the last, priceless remaining casks from the distiller’s stocks of malt whisky from Glen Albyn (closed in 1983) and grain whisky from Cambus, which also shut down in the same year.

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The whiskies, uniquely for a Johnnie Walker blend, then come together for a second and final maturation in a 100 year-old wood cask. Each single barrel batch fills 330 individually numbered hand-blown Baccarat decanters.

I doubt (unless there’s an unexpected IPO for The Moodie Report) that I’ll sample The John Walker too many times again in my life. So I’ll cherish the moment I did and reflect once again on the wonderful craft and heritage that lies behind Scotch whisky blending.

Here’s a blended dram that may simply never be bettered.

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  • Devil would not have tried better to tempt the connoisseurs of Scotch to taste such a GREAT blend. Still it is man made and can be bettered. The article is definitely inspiring to break the shaclkes of Lent discipline and taste it. I wish I was there.